The Telescope Editorial Board has endorsed three of six candidates running for the Governing Board in the November ‘22 elections. We believe that Judy Patacsil, Kartik Raju, and Jacqueline Kaiser will best serve students at Palomar College.
District 1: Judy Patacsil
Patacsil has attended a community college and worked at one for 30 years as a counselor and educator. She’s taught Filipino studies, Psychology, and counseling courses. She advocates the teaching of ethnic studies and chairs the IDEA committee (Inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism). If elected, she hopes to bring in more cultural studies, as well as offer more behavioral health services. She shared her passion for student success and well-being.
Palomar is already quite diverse; that’s arguably one of its best qualities, so having more cultural studies classes may not necessarily be a main point of interest, but Patacsil’s long-term experience and devotion to students and faculty make her a good candidate.
Patacsil’s opponent, Frank Xu comes from a technical background and is skilled in business and finance management. He has little experience with Palomar College or community college, but could potentially bring in new ideas, and challenge the school’s current policies. During the interview, he discussed providing more career-technical programs and connecting students with local businesses. This could benefit students with hands-on learning while serving the community.
Xu is one of the founders of the San Diego Asian Americans for Equal Rights Foundation (SDAAFE), which advocated against college race quotas. This raises some questions about what this could mean for minority students transferring to a four-year university.
While we believe that Frank Xu’s background could be beneficial to the Governing Board, we do not agree with his statements about changing the race-based admissions quota and his dislike of race and diversity inclusion. Therefore we have chosen to instead endorse Judy Patacsil for Palomar Governing Board.
District 4: Kartik Raju
Raju has been serving on the Governing Board as the interim trustee since 2021. His background is diverse; with a degree in electrical engineering, he has worked in software, music and film production, and project management. He has experience working in the defense and aerospace industry handling multi-million dollar budgets for the United States government.
He expressed enthusiasm for student culture, and the connections he’s made here at Palomar. He also shared his personal experience at a community college, and the joyous discovery of all the benefits it offered.
He addressed issues from a student’s perspective, proving that he’s truly considered our needs. He would like to see better food options put on campus, as well as help to ensure that students are able to get where they want to go in life without bearing loads of debt.
Michelle Rains is Raju’s opponent. She is a mother and chef who runs a restaurant in Ramona. She also serves on the Ramona Community Planning Board. She wants to see more career technical programs, such as a culinary program, and to make classes more available to students who live far away. She also wants to erase the stigma around community colleges being inferior to universities.
Her leadership experience qualifies her as a candidate, however, she didn’t present us with a well thought-out plan of action. She expressed concern for Palomar’s debt and mentioned its million-dollar deficit, although Palomar isn’t currently experiencing a financial crisis, as outlined in the Palomar 2022-23 Fiscal Year Adopted Budget report. This demonstrated a lack of knowledge of Palomar’s state of affairs.
We believe that Raju’s career experience with the aerospace industry, handling multi-million dollar budgets and his time on the Governing Board makes him a more qualified candidate.
District 5: Jacqueline Kaiser
Jacqueline Kaiser is a regional director at Metlife, an insurance company, and has worked with various community colleges and other institutions. She’s an avid learner and is resourceful and able to tackle obstacles in new and creative ways. Like Xu and Rains, she also discussed the prospect of connecting students to the business community.
The Telescope staff admired her authentic demeanor, and willingness to listen to other ideas and try new things. While she doesn’t have any prior experience at Palomar, we feel that a forward-thinking business mindset could bring fresh ideas to the board.
Kaiser’s opponent, Norma Miyamoto, has been working at Palomar college since 1996 and is currently serving as a Board Trustee. Her background is in journalism and public relations. She has a solid understanding of the Palomar College system and discussed priorities like increasing staff levels.
While we can certainly credit her with years of expertise at Palomar, she spoke little of benefiting the students directly. She impressed a greater interest in the welfare of the faculty. Staff and faculty are important, but we are more concerned with what will improve the student experience at Palomar. We felt that Kaiser was more relatable to students and more likely to hear our needs.
We have chosen to endorse these three candidates because we feel they will better meet the needs of the students. While Norma Miyamoto, Frank Xu, and Michelle Rains offer many good things for the Governing Board, we do not believe they are better suited for the student body. We feel that our three endorsements will prioritize students’ needs and bring new solutions and ideas to Palomar College’s leadership.